The Kansas corn harvest is now projected at 38 percent above a drought-afflicted 2012, at 525 million bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sept. 1 estimate, which was released Thursday.
That is an 8 percent increase in production from the previous forecast.
The yield in Kansas is now expected to be 125 bushels per acre, up from 116 bushels an acre projected in August.
In south-central Kansas, the rebound will be even bigger, with corn production expected to be up 40 percent, to 71.2 million bushels. All regions of the state will see improvement over 2012.
That surprised Arlan Suderman, Wichita-based senior market analyst for Water Street Solutions, who has closely been watching the return of drought conditions over the last three or four weeks.
These USDA estimates depend on when the actual count is made, he said. The previous assessment was on Aug. 1, halfway through the month-long rain.
“What this says is that they had not fully accounted for the rain, which fell from mid-July to mid-August, then shut off,” Suderman said. “What they are saying now is the gain from that exceeded the losses we’ve had later.”
Even more surprising to Suderman is that USDA estimators didn’t reduce estimates much, if any, on the big corn states of Illinois and Iowa, which have been hurt by the so-called “flash drought” of late August and early September. The USDA is projecting a record 13.843 billion bushels nationwide in the Sept. 1 estimate, up slightly from the August estimate.
Corn prices have fallen considerably since late June when analysts first understood the size of the U.S. corn harvest. But Suderman said he doesn’t expect a further fall, largely because corn prices are being propped up by strong global demand for soybeans. But Suderman said he also sees no reason for corn prices to rally unless supplies fall below a billion bushels.
• In Kansas, soybean production is forecast at 133 million bushels, up 58 percent from last year, with the yield forecast at 36 bushels per acre, up 14 bushels per acre from last year.
• Sorghum for grain in Kansas is forecast at 195 million bushels, more than double last year, with yields at 75 bushels per acre, up 36 bushels from last year.
• Cotton production is forecast at 39,000 bales, down 44 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 720 pounds per acre, up from 622 pounds per acre in 2012, but the number of acres expected to be harvested, 26,000 acres, is less than half of last year’s total.